Riley and Keegan Hall competed in a world event in Croatia earlier this year.
Here is Keegan's review of their time away:
The Croatian trip that Riley and I went on to the World Youth Cup was an extremely enjoyable experience. We started our trip with a solid two hour flight to Auckland where we met up with the New Zealand karate team consisting of fifteen athletes and three coaches. After meeting up we then got on our team flight to Qatar which was a seventeen hour flight, after the flight we needed to go through security in one of the biggest airports in the world and had to navigate our way to our six hour flight to Zagreb, luckily the airport was air conditioned because even at 11:00 am it was 42 degrees. After a long and picturesque flight to Zagreb we got off and entered our taxi to the bus station. After we had an interesting taxi ride through the capital city Zagreb we eventually found the bus station and realised that we had a seven hour layover before we could take our last bus to Umag. As we waited we took a taxi to a nearby a mall where we enjoyed some traditional cuisine. Finally when we got on the bus we found out that our bus went from a six hour bus ride through Slovenia or Italy to a eight hour bus ride through Slovenia and Italy after our bus was overbooked, we had to wait an hour for a bus from Poland to come and pick up the other passengers and after we finally made it to our destination it was 9:00. As you could suspect from traveling that long we just went to bed.
The next day was the weigh in where we had to get weighed to make sure we were eligible for our weight categories. After Riley and I made it into our division it was time to celebrate with a delicious buffet dinner and an early night. The next day was the first of our three days of camp. The day started at 9:30 with a group photo then two hours of gruelling training, a four-hour break where we went swimming in the warm sea, then the last two hours of training for the day. The second day of camp was the same but we didn’t have to take another group photo.
Finally, to conclude the training there was a tropical storm on the end of day 2 that blew over two of the tents that we were training in and flooded the mats of them both, so we ended up doing a whole group hour-long
training followed by autographs. The next day was the first day of the tournament which started with the children's day which meant anyone under 14 had their Kata and Kumite. Saturday was the second of the three days of the tournament and was for anyone over 14 which was our day to shine. We ended up having to wait for seven hours for our divisions to come up for Kata but Riley did really well being able to pull off two rounds, the first one being Romania and the second Cyprus before losing in the quarterfinals to Argentina of the 2/4 pools. I did my best but sadly lost to a great competitor from Serbia.
The next day I woke up pumped for my Kumite. I looked at my draws and found out that I was facing a Croatian guy. I was so ready after my warm up and was ready to give it my all. I stepped onto the mat wanting to score the first point. However, every time I would try to score, he would try to counter and by the third time I came in he scored 1 point and I lost 1 - 0. The person that I fought lost in the next round so I was out but I was still happy because I tried my best. Riley also had a fight against Ukraine but sadly couldn't pull It off losing 1-0 also. That night the whole team had a party and we all had fun in the hotel’s outdoor pool, after that night it was time to go home so Riley and I spent a lot of time getting ready for the 33 hour trip home.
All in all, it was a thoroughly amazing experience and we would really like to give thanks to all the staff who bought coffee and all the students that bought sherbet from our fundraiser and huge thanks to the parents and friends association at John McGlashan college for giving us a grant.